There are a few ways to create a tote box from items on hand.
Use a storage crate.
Around the home or office, it is often easy to find a cube style storage crate. These plastic crates are often referred to as 'milk crates.' These crates are usually the perfect size for letter size files. Because they have openings on all sides, these crates best serve as tote boxes for books, files, and other contained papers. The large open top provides easy access to thumb through files.
These plastic crates can usually be used as tote boxes on their own, due to conveniently indented handles on the sides. However, sometimes modifications are required to make this tote box truly portable.
Adding a loop of thick nylon rope to each side makes a great handle. The rope can easily be threaded through the openings in the plastic. It is important to tie the knots very tightly to ensure they do not come loose. Lightly burning the edges of the rope causes the ends to melt together and prevents fraying.
Use a cardboard box.
When seeking a customizable tote, an old cardboard box is the way to go. The size possibilities are practically endless. Solid sides make a cardboard tote box excellent for storing craft supplies or other loose items. This is a great choice for the ecologically-minded individual as well, since it keeps another box out of the landfill.
This tote box requires a cardboard that is sturdy and not too large. A box that is extremely large will quickly become too heavy when filled.
Once a sturdy box has been selected, modifications can begin. First, all bottom flaps must be glued down to each other, rather than simply folded together. This will go a long way toward ensuring the durability of the tote box. Heavy-duty tape should be put over all the seams at the bottom as well.
Use a utility knife to cut a hole in two opposite sides of the box. The holes should be about two to three inches from the top. Holes placed too high can cause the handle to rip through the cardboard.
Wide, strong ribbon or thick, nylon rope can be used as a handle. Slip the handle material through each hole and tie it off tightly at each end. The tote box is now functional, and can be decorated in a multitude of ways to become more attractive.
With a few minutes of work and some common home or office items, a customized tote box can be made, which can serve a variety of storage purposes to make life easier.